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Two Towns Top $31k to End Gun Violence

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Two Towns Top $31k to End Gun Violence
Facebook Fundraising Campaign Goes Viral in 50 Hours

South Orange Village President Sheena Collum and Maplewood Mayor Victor De Luca announced Wednesday that the joint Facebook fundraiser between the two communities to support Everytown for Gun Safety closed at 12 p.m. on Tuesday with $30,660 in donations from 645 individual donors.

“We never thought we would even come close to this point," Collum said. "When we initially came up with the idea this weekend to have our residents mobilize to support Everytown for Gun Safety, it came from a place of sadness, frustration and wanting to do something immediate about the 17 lives that were lost in Parkland, Florida. There was always the distant hope of raising $17,000 to honor the lives of the 17 that were taken from us and our residents delivered above and beyond.”

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"This was a tremendous campaign and I am sure our residents will continue to fight for common sense gun laws. We will not be deterred by the NRA and the do-nothing Congress," DeLuca added.  “If every community across the country could replicate what we did in 50 hours, we’d have a war chest and that’s what we need.”

Moms Demand Action volunteer and Maplewood resident Reshma Ketkar and others pledged to give more as the campaign hit certain benchmarks.

"Donations of $5 to $250 came in from students, adults, parents and grandparents and at certain milestones, people ‘doubled up’ on their original give – it was a part of all the excitement and awareness we were generating. We may not have a lot of $1K donors like the NRA but we have strength in numbers," Ketkar said. "It was amazing to watch this campaign take on a life of its own!”

Moms Demand Action volunteer and South Orange resident Caroline O'Hare agreed, "We are doing this for our children. We are doing this because it’s the right thing to do. And we are going to keep doing this until we are able to stop gun violence. Period."

Mara Bernstein, a Moms Demand Action volunteer and Maplewood resident, said she was encouraged by the fundraiser.

"I’ve been working on gun violence prevention for four years. Ups and downs. Victories and heartbreaks. Something feels different post-Parkland. Like we just may be at a tipping point.  We need to take this momentum and run with it."

Everytown For Gun Safety (everytown.org) is made up of 400 million members nationwide, including members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The group works to prevent gun violence and save lives by pushing for lawmakers to improve gun laws, raising awareness about gun violence, educating the public about common-sense gun laws and responsible gun ownership, mobilizing grassroots supporters, and connecting and amplifying the voices of gun violence survivors.

Collum and DeLuca are both members of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition. They were joined in the campaign by all six South Orange Village Trustees - Walter Clarke, Deborah Davis Ford, Howard Levison, Mark Rosner, Karen Hilton and Steve Schnall, as well as all four other members of the Maplewood Township Committee joining De Luca including Deputy Mayor Frank McGehee and Committee members Nancy Adams, Greg Lembrich and Dean Dafis.

Local Moms Demand Action volunteers who worked on the campaign included Reshma Ketkar, Malia Herman, Mara Bernstein, Caroline O'Hare, Christine Olson, Rachel Goldman, Rachel Fischer, Nicole Kleinbaum, Heather Joy and Kristin Marie.

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SOMA

Columbia High School Principal's Removal Raises More Questions Than It Answers

The last Twitter post from Columbia High School principal Elizabeth Aaron is very telling. 

The four-year CHS schools chief, who was recently, surprisingly, reassigned to a vague “Principal on Special Assignment” post by the school district, was a Twitter regular on her @CougarPrincipal account. There she would often promote the school’s successes and notable staff and ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Two Robberies Reported on July 5

July 15, 2018

July 2 - Motor Vehicle Theft; Sometime over the previous two days, a U-Haul truck was stolen from a business on Newark Way.

July 4 - Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours an unsecured vehicle parked on Elberta Rd was entered and keys were stolen from it.

July 5 - Robberies; At approximately 1:30 a.m., a male was assaulted by two males ridding bicycles while he was walking on ...

South Orange Police Blotter - Four Auto Thefts Reported Between June 21 and June 29

South Orange Police Blotter as of July 1

Auto Theft - A Seton Pl. resident reported that sometime between 11:00 pm, Wednesday 6-27-18 and 7:00 am, Thursday 6-28-18 actor(s) unknown stole his vehicle (2005 Toyota ), which was parked in the driveway at the time. The actor(s) entered another one of the victim's vehicles that was parked in the driveway, rummaged through the interior & ...

Photos: 2018 Maplewoodstock Music & Art Festival

July 15, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Maplewoodstock was back July 14 and July 15 for its 15th weekend of live music, food, kids activities and more in Maplewood's Memorial Park.

Maplewoodstock opened at noon on Saturday with local SOMA band Amish Internet, and ended the day with the Reggae band Third World.

On Sunday, the first performance of the day was from Maplewood native Autumn ...

South Orange Summer Nights Moonlit Movies Start Wed., Aug. 15

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Starting Wednesday, Aug. 15, South Orange Summer Nights will host three weeks of Moonlit Movies.

Films are shown at 8 p.m. at Floods Hill in Meadowland Park.

Schedule is as follows:

Wed., Aug. 15 - Coco  (2017 Rated PG) 
Wed., Aug. 22 - Jumanji  (2017 Rated PG-13)
Wed., Aug. 29 - Despicable Me ...

Upcoming Events

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Tue, July 17, 5:00 PM

Caldwell University Alumni Theater, Caldwell

Public Invited to Essex County Opioid Use ...

Health & Wellness

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Wed, July 18, 10:00 AM

Paterson Board of Education , Paterson

Teacher Job Fair in Paterson

Education

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Fri, July 20, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

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Fri, July 20, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Statement From Emergency Committee to Reinstate Principal Aaron

July 10, 2018

** TUESDAY RALLY IS CANCELLED **

We created a movement. We leveraged our collective 1,600 voices and forced the District leadership to sit with us today [Monday] and discuss the poorly communicated, weekend announcement that CHS Principal Elizabeth Aaron was being reassigned.

Our meeting was a first step in both accountability and transparency as Dr. Ficarra revealed Principal ...

Coalition on Race Responds to Changes in School District Administrators

The Board of Trustees of the Community Coalition on Race seeks racial equity, integration, and excellence in education for all students in our schools. While the pace of change has been frustratingly slow, we have seen some progress. Yet, candidly, there are too many students of color who are not well served in SOMA, who still experience segregated classrooms and who still suffer from racial ...

3rd Annual Newark International Film Festival Accepting Submissions

July 12, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Three days filled with celebrity guests and showcases from both local and international filmmakers are coming to the city in September.

The third annual Newark International Film Festival will return Sept. 6 and run through Sept. 9, 2018. The festival has grown each year since it was first created, with the city last year hosting 10,000 attendees seeing films across ...

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters here.

It’s one of two ordinances that were approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

Downtown Scotch Plains May Eventually Look Like Princeton, According to Redevelopment Committee Feedback

July 15, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – Residents who attended the Scotch Plains Downtown Redevelopment Committee (SPDRC) meeting on Wednesday night got a peak into what the future of the township will look like… and it looks a lot like Princeton.

Tom Strowe, the Township’s Project Coordinator for Redevelopment, presented findings of the recent survey on architectural styles. More than 2,100 ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

Repairs to Boyden Avenue Between Elmwood Avenue and Springfield Avenue

July 15, 2018

On Monday, July 16, road repairs to the south side of Boyden Avenue between Elmwood Avenue and Springfield Avenue will take place for approximately one week pending weather conditions. There will be access to the pool parking lot for pool members and NJ Transit employees. Signage and police officers will be present to direct traffic.

Valley Street Milling and Paving Commencing July 16

On Monday, July 16, road repairs to Valley Street between Hixon Pl. and Millburn Ave. will begin as part of the Essex County 2018 Roadway Program. The work will last approximately until July 30, and will take place during the night. Please adhere to traffic signage and police officers during this time as work is being completed. 

Bike for the Bean! CycleBar Livingston Event to Raise Funds for Food Pantry

Meeting Essential Needs with Dignity (MEND) is hosting a “Bike for the Bean” fundraiser at CycleBar Livingston on Saturday, July 21 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. This event will raise funds for MEND’s new mobile food pantry, a converted school bus known as “The Green Bean.” Donations for this event will allow MEND to purchase and distribute more fresh and healthy ...